Katsav to appeal conviction, sentence to Supreme Court

Former president's lawyer says appeal will focus on "Aleph's" testimony which was swayed by external elements.

Katsav after sentencing_311(r) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Katsav after sentencing_311(r)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former president Moshe Katsav will appeal his rape conviction and sentence to the Supreme Court, Katsav’s lawyer Avigdor Feldman announced on Monday.
Feldman told Army Radio that the appeal would focus on the testimony of “Aleph” from the Tourism Ministry, the woman who claimed and convinced the Tel Aviv District Court that Katsav had raped her on two occasions.
Feldman said that Aleph’s testimony was swayed by external elements and that she changed her testimony from the version she gave during the police investigation.
“During her testimony the witness made statements that we consider to be lies. The court chose to interpret them as memory lapses, but the fact is that the experiences she spoke of became more severe from one investigation to another,” Feldman said. “We believe she was pressured into changing her story.”
Feldman said they intended to file the appeal by May 7, just one day before Katsav’s seven-year prison sentence is scheduled to begin, and that they would also request that implementation of the sentence be postponed.
Feldman noted, however, that the NIS 125,000 the court had ordered Katsav to pay his victims would be paid in the upcoming days. Feldman complained that Aleph had demanded the money a week after the sentence was handed down.
“I have never seen such a thing. It makes me wonder if her primary motivation for lodging the complaint was financial,” Feldman said. “Katsav cannot produce such sums immediately, but will pay when he can.”
When asked about rumors over the former president’s emotional and mental state following the conviction and statements made by his family members about the risk of him taking his own life, and whether his well-being would be used as a legal argument to aid Katsav in the appeal, Feldman responded that the appeal would not include arguments regarding Katsav’s mental or emotional state as it would constitute unfair pressure on the judges.
Katsav was convicted last month of rape, sexual harassment and obstruction of justice and was sentenced to seven years in prison.